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Communication as travel: The genre of letters to the dead in public media

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The phenomenon of personally addressing the dead through letters published in public media is a prevalent communicative practice that has earned little academic notice. This practice disrupts some common communication principles and provides us with new understandings of how communication works ‐ by travelling, rather than reaching an end. To encapsulate and characterize this phenomenon, this article focuses on an Israeli case study of letters written to the dead and published in popular newspapers. I use a media ecology approach to phenomenologically classify five sets of characteristics in order to stimulate future discussion and analysis.
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Keywords: Israeli culture; death; distance; movement; remediation; routes; travel; written technologies

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • EME explores the relationships between media, technology, symbolic form, communication, consciousness, and culture. Its scope is interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary. Media ecology provides a rich philosophical, historical and practical context for studying our increasingly technological and mediated society and culture with an emphasis on historical context.
    Media ecology scholarship emphasizes a humanistic approach to understanding media, communication, and technology, with special emphasis on the ways in which we have been and continue to be shaped and influenced by our inventions and innovation. The Media ecology approach is predicated on understanding that media, symbols, and technologies play a leading role in human affairs, and function as largely invisible environments affecting the way we think, feel, act, and organize ourselves collectively.
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